Interview with Ian Siegel (ZipRecruiter)
ZipRecruiter enables companies to easily post job listings to 25+ free job boards plus vet all applicants through simple online interviews.
I interviewed Ian Siegel, ZipRecruiter co-founder and CEO to find out more. This interview is the seventy seventh in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Ian!
How would you describe ZipRecruiter in under 50 words?
Post to 25+ job boards with one submission and review applicants from all sources in one simple list online.
What was the motivation behind starting up ZipRecruiter? Do you have a background in recruitment?
Neither myself nor my co-founders had any experience in recruiting beyond the fact that we’ve all had to do a fair amount of hiring over our careers. ZipRecruiter was one of those “let’s build something we would use” products that it turns out a lot of other people liked as well.
Who are the other three founders of ZipRecruiter and how did you all meet?
Everyone always says “wow it must be tough to have four co-founders”, but honestly nothing has been further from the truth. The four of us have worked together in various combinations across 5 different companies. We have complimentary skill sets and maybe more importantly, we all genuinely like each other.
How did you come up with the name?
We wanted something that conveyed “Fill your job postings fast!” We were shocked to find ZipRecruiter wasn’t already owned or squatted. I think we paid $9 for it.
What appealed most about being your own boss?
A total lack of artificial urgency.
Has your initial vision changed since launch?
I personally believe that no matter how many features a website has, every business only sells “one thing.” Many companies only manage to clarify that “one thing” when they start writing Google ads.
We started by thinking our “one thing” was letting employers add online interviews to the application process. Having every applicant answer questions online seemed like a better way to vet who you wanted to bring in for an interview.
Post launch, the first feature request was for the ability to distribute a job without including an interview. Building the interview feature was the single largest part of initial site development. The irony was thick.
What was technically the most challenging part of developing ZipRecruiter?
It took us only a few months to put ZipRecruiter together, but we are at two years (and counting) in on the fight against scammers.
There are a shocking number of individuals or businesses seeking to profit off of job seekers. We have had to develop sophisticated algorithms for identifying suspect job ads along with methodologies for authenticating the legitimacy of a business.
How long did it take to put together ZipRecruiter?
We built the first version of the site (working on it only part time) in about four months, but honestly that was the easy part. The REAL work was the next six months trying different business models, identifying traffic sources, and optimizing the user experience. Those months were more difficult than the pre-launch period and far more meaningful as it relates to what we are today. All in — I’d say it was a solid year before we firmly had our feet beneath us and were confidently saying “this is how we do business.”
How do you promote ZipRecruiter?
Unfortunately our success has lead to knockoff competitors so we try not to spill the beans on why we grow faster than they do. :)
Do you have any new features in the pipeline?
Now that we get more than 1.5 million job seekers per month coming through our site, we’ve been working on some creative ways to help them get hired faster. Stay tuned…
What do you wish you’d have known 5 years ago that you know now?
I wish I’d known how much fun running my own startup would be. I would have taken the leap sooner. If you make it over the initial hump every day is a good day.
Where do you see ZipRecruiter in 5 years time?
At the rate we’re growing I would guess ZipRecruiter will be the preferred job posting method for hundreds of thousands of businesses across the US and Canada. 28% of new customers come from word of mouth right now, and the only reason it isn’t a larger percentage is because of the rapid pace with which we increase our marketing spend.
What one piece of advice would you give to startup founders?
Make the first version of your product as simple as possible, but whatever scaled down feature set you decide — make sure it’s flawless. People are willing to grow with you if you give them a strong first impression.
Can you convince the reader to start using ZipRecruiter in under 50 words?
Hiring right now? Post to 25+ job boards and all your social networks with 1 submission. Every new signup gets a free trial — be sure you’re pulling candidates before you pay!
Finished reading? Check out ZipRecruiter!